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Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission (1930) | State Archives Catalog

Name: Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission (1930)


Historical Note:

RI Public Law 1930, ch. 1317 empowered the Governor, with the consent of the Senate to appoint a commission of seven to "carry into effect article 19 of  amendments to the constitution of the state to reapportion the representative districts of the state in accordance wth article XIII of the amendments to the state constitution.This work was to  be done in accordance with the 1925 state census. The commission was directed to report to the General Assembly by act, resolution or otherwise..."

Nineteen thirty was the last year Congress used the "Webster method" to detemine representation. The number of members was adjusted so that none were left over. From 1842 to 1850, Congress used a formula proposed by Daniel Webster, sometimes called the "method of major fractions," which gave an additional member to any State whose quota included a fraction greater than one-half. From 1850 to 1910, Congress used a formula that had originally been proposed by Alexander Hamilton for the apportionment of 1790. Under that formula, members were first apportioned according to each State's quota, disregarding any fractional remainders, and then any leftover seats were assigned to the States with the largest fractional remainders. Between 1911 and 1930, Congress reverted to using the Webster method. After the 1930 census, in accordance with a report from the National Academy of Sciences, Congress adopted the "method of equal proportions." The formula uses the State's population divided by the geometric mean of that State's current number of seats and the next seat (the square root of n(n-1)). This formula allocates the remainders among the States in a way that provides the smallest relative difference between any pair of States in the population of a district and in the number of people per representative. Congress's choice of this method over the other possible methods has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and it remains in use today.

Source: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/departments/scr/REDIST/red-us/redist-US.htm




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